A yellow light on my dashboard caught my attention; it was the flat tire indicator. I checked the air pressure in each tire and inflated all four to the appropriate psi. Even after driving around, the light remained on. I re-checked and the tires appeared to be maintaining their air pressure. I did consider putting a piece of duct tape over the indicator light, but thought better of it.
Instead, I took my truck to a locally owned automotive repair shop. The extraordinary kindness of the employees was immediately evident. Everyone went out of their way to be helpful; and I said as much to the clerk when I paid my bill.
She said “it all boils down to treating people the way you want to be treated.”
The apostle Paul lists kindness as one of the “fruit of the Spirit” to the church in Galatia.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self-control. Nothing in the Torah stands against such things. Galatians 5:22-23 Complete Jewish Bible
As I contemplated these attributes, I wondered if there is a reason for the sequence of the “fruit?” Is one trait more important than another? I found one article on-line to suggest that yes, from the beginning of the list to the end, one quality grows into the next. I’m not totally convinced that is true—they all seem equally important to me.
However, the longer I examined the list the more intrigued I became with how the attribute of kindness is smack dab in the middle of the nine. Moving forwards and backwards in the list, kindness is fifth—fifth from the beginning and fifth from the end—as if kindness is the pinnacle, the acme, the vertex of the fruit of the Spirit.
I even checked ten or so other translations to see if the arrangement changed in any way. Aside from a few paraphrased translations and the use of various synonyms in others, kindness remained rooted in the middle.
A little more research yielded the following information about the number five:
The number 5 symbolizes God’s grace, goodness and favor toward humans … Five is the number of Grace, and multiplied by itself, which is 25, is ‘grace upon grace’ (John 1:16) … The God’s law consists of five books, which are called Pentateuch. The New Testament Pentateuch consists of the 4 gospels and the book of Acts, which can be considered God’s grace and favor to the humankind. (biblestudy.org)
Ceramicist and author, Rupert Spira says “… I consider kindness one of the highest virtues … what we do to another, we literally do to ourselves …”
Kindness, it seems, is the beacon of hope; a light necessary to heal a year filled with the darkness of immeasurable and unrelenting grief and pain, seemingly insurmountable hatred and divisiveness, and incalculable suffering and need.
Kindness … let your light so shine.